A/N: Thanks for all the continuing love and support! I really am blessed! A BIG Thank you to my beta Jill, I'm really making her work these days, just want her to know I can't do any of this without her input!

Disclaimer: Don't own Glee nor do I want to, I'm really pissed off at all the fuckery of S4! Nor do I own I Know What Boys Like by the Waitresses and Never Say Never by Romeo Void...Enjoy

Chapter 12

Sam slammed the trunk down and walked to the front. "Is everything okay?" he asked, looking between the two.

Alys nodded. "Yeah," she said, climbing into the backseat. I think everything is going to be okay."

Sam held the door for Mercedes as she got into the car and closed it behind her. He sprinted to the driver's side and climbed behind the wheel. He felt Alys' eyes on him. He looked at her through the rear view mirror and winked. "Is everyone buckled in and ready to go?"

"Yes," Alys answered from the backseat.

Sam glanced at Mercedes. "Mercedes?" he asked.

Mercedes, remembering his niece was in the car, held her tongue and nodded her response.

"Okay," Sam said, buckling his own seatbelt. "Let's roll."

For the first fifteen minutes into the ride back to LA, music filled the silence between the three passengers.

Sam hummed, bobbing his head to the music, happy they were stuck in heavy traffic, meaning there was no way in hell Mercedes will get back in time to go out with her stalker-admirer, unless she had a TARDIS or a Vortex Manipulator hidden in her bag. (Not that he cared mind you.) He was protecting her as a friend from someone who was throwing out some very weird vibes. He knew dreadlock dude was shady as hell, although he couldn't prove it – yet.

Mercedes continued to stare out the window, praying hard that the scenic view of the Pacific would calm her down. She didn't trust herself to look at Sam right now; if she did Alys would witness the painful death of her beloved Uncle Sam. The poor child had been through enough and she shouldn't have to see that. Mercedes silently exhaled, her anger simmering just beneath the surface.

She rubbed her brows in frustration; his voice was grating on her last fucking nerves. Why doesn't he just shut the fuck up?

"It's a good thing you didn't have any plans for tonight," Sam said to Mercedes smiling sweetly, too sweetly for her taste. Sam wondered if she would finally break down and tell him she and her stalker had a date. "Sometimes the freeway gets so congested, it can take up to three hours or more to get home." He informed her.

"Jesus, keep me near the cross." Mercedes muttered under her breath. She wasn't sure if she could take spending another three seconds in the car with him, let along three hours!

"Huh? What was that?"

"Nothing, just clearing my throat," Mercedes answered, rapidly blinking back her angry tears. "What time is it now?" she shifted in her seat and stared out the front window at the rows of cars that seem to come to a complete standstill.

Sam briefly glanced at the clock on the dashboard. "4:25," he noticed the slight slump in her posture. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." She placed her elbow against the door and propped her head in her right hand.

"You're not worried that your roommates will get all panicky if they can't reach you because your cell phone died do you?" Sam said fringing concern. Any moment Mercedes would crack and confess she had a date with him, whose-stupid-assed-name-shall-never-cross-his-lips. "You can use my cell phone and let them know what is going on," he offered, knowing she wouldn't dare call dreadlock dude from his phone. "It'll probably make you feel better…" he trailed off, winking.

Mercedes side eyed the fuck out of him; if she didn't know better, she would have sworn Sam knew about her date with Balthazar. "If we're not back by six, I'll give Kurt a call." And have him relay a message to Balthazar. Mercedes froze. She neglected to tell her best friend about the new man in her life! Fuck! She really wasn't ready for Kurt the Inquisitor.

Alys stared at Mercedes from behind the book she pretended to read. In the nearly three years she had lived with her Uncle Sam, he had never expressed any interest in curvy women. When it came to women, her uncle and his best friend Puck were very superficial.

"Alys darlin', why are you so quiet?" Sam asked, glancing at her briefly through the rear view mirror. Is that a book I see in your hand?" Alys rolled her eyes and closed the book. "Much better." He smiled. "So how's school?"

The twelve year old shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. "It's school," she answered in monotone, with a duh expression on her face.

Sam raised his eyebrows and nodded indicating for her to continue.

Alys narrowed her eyes the way kids do when they are forced to do something against their will.

"I get up at 6:45 in the morning to fight with my roommate for bathroom time, and then I get dressed, grab my book bag and eat." She rolled her eyes at her Uncle Sam and tucked her hair behind her ears. "With breakfast out of the way, I go to class and listen to my teachers with fake interest. I eat for a second time, go to more classes, return to my room where I stay until it's time to eat for the last time, socialize with a few friends, then back to my room to study and fight with my roommate for bathroom time and lights out by ten." She paused to take a breath. "This is my life five days out of seven. On weekends I sleep in, catch up on my reading, listen to quality music and watch quality shows."

A small smile found itself on Mercedes' lips as she listened to Alys described her daily life.

"How's your roommate?"

"She's a hypocrite." Alys continued, picking at her nails. "Remember when I told you she is all about the vegan life?

"Yeah," Sam replied. "She was giving you grief about eating meat."

"Yeah, like I would ever give up Wally's Burgers," she scoffed, rolling her eyes.

"Excuse me," Mercedes said butting in, she turned around to face Alys. "What is Wally's Burgers?"

Alys' blue eyes bugged out her head. "Ohmigod! Wally's Burgers are the most delicious burgers ever invented," she replied. "Right, Uncle Sam?"

Sam nodded. "You can only get Wally's Burgers in Tennessee," he explained. "Once you had one, you are ruined for life, just like your lasagna. When I take you home, Wally's Burgers will be the first place we visit."

Mercedes' facial expression froze she couldn't believe he had the fucking nerve… like there was a chance in hell that she would go any where willingly with him. Mercedes was about to tell the corroded asshole to fuck the hell off, then she remembered Alys was in the car and smiled.

Alys raised her eyebrows at Mercedes' reaction with a slight smirk, she got the feeling Mercedes wasn't easily impressed by her Uncle Sam.

"So what happened between you and your vegan roommate this time?" Sam asked. He was happy Alys was being so opened; usually she would roll her eyes and give him one syllable answers as he asked all the questions.

"She and her little vegan friends had the bright idea to protest outside the cafeteria. They wanted the school to stop serving meat all together saying eating poor innocent animals was just cruel." Alys rolled her eyes again and shook her head in pity. "So while I was eating my yummy chicken nuggets, I walked up to her and her merry band of idiots and called her out on her ish."

"Alys…"

"I said ish, Uncle Sam, geez," she said, annoyed.

Mercedes bit her bottom lip in an effort to hide her smile.

"Any ways…" Alys continued, picking at her nails again. "I called her a hypocrite. I mean if it's cruel to eat poor innocent animals then it's just as cruel to wear their skin, right?"

Sam and Mercedes nodded in unison.

"I told her if she was really for animal rights she would take off those leather boots she was sporting and wear pleather or some other form of synthetic material. She tried to tell me that it wasn't the same. I told her that the same cow that was slaughtered for food was also slaughtered for his skin so that she can be fashionable. When I asked her if she was going to protest Manolo Blahnik because it was only fair, she and her merry band of idiots stormed off."

"Very impressive, Alys," Sam said, beaming.

"Yeah, I'd decided to use the Evans' charm for good," she deadpanned, shrugging her shoulders, nonchalantly. "It was either that or go all Carrie on her."

"You like Stephen King?" Mercedes asked Alys. She didn't know girls Alys' age still read Carrie.

Alys nodded happily. Hell froze over. Finally her Uncle was interested in someone who had read an actual book without pictures. "I'll read it over Twilight any and every day of the week," she replied.

"So you're not a big fan of the series?"

"Please," Alys scoffed, rolling her eyes in disgust at the thought. "As a young impressionable female I find the Bella character weak. I mean come on, she needs a male to save her, how offensive is that? I can be my own hero and save my own self."

"But it's a love story," Mercedes laughed sarcastically.

"So I have been told, numerous times." Alys sighed, flipping her hair over her shoulders. "Miss Jones, Uncle Sam tells me that you're a comic book connoisseur?"

"Uh, yeah…" she said, side eyeing Sam, surprised that he had discussed her with his niece. "Ever since I was a child," Mercedes continued, wondering what else Sam said about her.

XXXX

Another hour has passed and they were still stuck in traffic. Although they were slowly creeping towards Los Angeles Sam, not wanting to take the chance they would make it back in time for Mercedes' date with her stalker, began formulating a plan to prolong the trip. He glanced at Alys and Mercedes in the rearview mirror and smiled, the conversation between them was still going strong. He hadn't seen his niece this talkative with anyone outside of the family other than Puck.

"Ahem…" he said loudly, clearing his throat to get their attention.

Alys looked perturbed at her Uncle for interrupting her conversation with Mercedes in mid sentence.

"Excuse me ladies, sorry for the interruption, but I have one question to ask the both of you and then you can continue your conversation," he said apologetically. "My stomach had reminded me that I haven't eaten anything since this morning," he explained. "I was wondering if it'll be all right with everyone if we stop some place to eat." Sam glanced at Mercedes from the corner of his right eye to see her reaction.

Mercedes took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "How far are we from Los Angeles?" she asked.

"We are about two hours out because of the traffic," he explained, "To be perfectly honest it is best if we wait it out for a few hours."

Mercedes chewed on her bottom lip, contemplating what to do.

"Is everything alright?" he asked with a fake concern. "You said you didn't have anything planned, so if we wait until after 8 o'clock, the traffic wouldn't be so heavy and it'll be a breeze," he said convincingly.

She rubbed her eyebrows. There was no way in hell she was going to make it back in time for her date with Balthazar. Oh what the fuck, I'm stuck! "Okay," she said reluctantly. "A bite to eat won't hurt; besides, I need to stretch my legs." she said, trying to remain positive.

"I'm sorry Mercedes," he lied, not sorry. "I didn't mean…"

"Don't worry about it…" she shrugged, cutting him off.

Alys looked between them…

"How about you Shortness?" he asked Alys. "Hungry?"

"Famished," she replied.

Sam took the next exit leading to the breathtakingly beautiful city of Oxnard.

He parked the car at the first rest stop he came to and fished his phone out his pants pocket to search for local restaurants in the area while Mercedes and Alys got out the car to stretch their legs. Mercedes was memorized by the view of the sail boats, effortlessly gliding across the water.

"Have you been sailing before?" Alys asked, staring out at the Pacific.

"Well not really, when I was younger my father use to take me fishing in his small fishing boat, but nothing like what I'm looking at."

"You know how to fish?" Alys asked the older female, duly impressed.

"Yeah," Mercedes giggled. "I know how to bait my own hook and everything."

"My Poppa would like you."

"So I've heard."

"Miss Mercedes, would you mind if I ask you a personal question?" Alys asked after a pregnant pause.

"No, I don't mind," Mercedes replied. "And you may call me Mercedes."

"Miss…uh…Mercedes, may I please see your driver's license?" she continued. "I know it's a stupid question, but I have my reasons." Alys' cheeks turned a pale shade of pink from embarrassment. She wanted to make sure that this woman was who she claimed to be. She would be highly disappointed if Mercedes turned out to be a fake.

"Uh…sure," Mercedes said, without hesitation. "Be right back." She headed to the car to retrieve her bag.

Sam, who finally decided to stretch his legs, was leaning against his baby doing research on the internet. He suddenly stopped and glanced at Mercedes as she approached the car; he glanced at his niece and back to Mercedes. "What happened?" Sam ask, concerned. "Is Alys being a brat?"

"No," Mercedes replied, reaching inside the car to get her bag. "Your niece is the oldest twelve years old I had ever met."

Sam nodded in agreement and chuckled. "Alys is very wise for her age," he said. "Sometimes I forget that I'm talking to a child."

Mercedes took out her driver's license and handed it over to Alys.

The preteen looked at the front and the back of her driver's license and handed it back. "Thanks," she said, smiling apologetically.

Mercedes smiled at the child and returned her license to her wallet.

Several minutes later, Sam walked up to them with both hands stuffed in his front jeans pockets. "Is anyone in the mood for Brazilian?" he asked. "I know it's different but I'm feeling a little adventurous, who's game?"

"I am," Alys spoke up.

"Great," Sam cheered. "Mercedes?"

"Sure."

"Alright, I've got the directions off the net, so let's go ladies," he said excitedly. "But before we do, how about a couple of pictures?" he suggested.

"Uncle Sam," Alys replied, rolling her eyes.

"Alys…" he responded.

"Okay, fine." She sighed.

Sam took out his cell phone and set it to camera, while Alys stood with her arms folded across her chest, looking annoyed.

"Come on Shortness, smile for Uncle Sammy." He coaxed her. "I'm sending this one to grandma." Alys plastered a fake smile on her face. Sam snapped the picture. "Okay Mercedes stand next to Alys."

"Why?" She asked. "My picture isn't going to grandma is it?"

"No, of course not," he said quickly, "I just want of picture of you and Alys with the Pacific Ocean in the background, that's all."

"All right," Mercedes stood next to Alys and draped her arm around the young female.

"Okay everyone say Sam Evans is sexy,"

"Ew, Uncle Sam…no."

"I agree with Alys," Mercedes agreed. "Ew."

Sam pretended to be hurt. "What a way to bruise a guy's ego, ouch," he joked. "Say cheese on the count of three, 1…2…3!" Alys and Mercedes said Cheese! Sam snapped the picture and stared at it. "Wow, you two are so photogenic," he complimented. "How about another one standing next to my baby?" he suggested.

"Hey aren't you going to take any pictures?" Alys asked. "It's only fair."

"Uh sure."

Mercedes quickly took the cell phone out of his hands and ordered him to stand by his niece.

"Okay, show me the Evans' charm." Mercedes said as Sam and Alys posed for their picture. "I think this one is going to be sent to Grandma Evans."

"Uncle Sam, don't forget you and Mercedes have to take a picture together, too." Alys said, waiting for Mercedes to snap their picture.

Sam smiled at her suggestion…

Mercedes snapped two pictures of Sam and Alys, she looked at the pictures of Sam and his niece; the family resemblance was strong.

"Okay, Mercedes my turn," Alys said, holding out her hand. "I'm going to take a picture of you and Uncle Sam." she explained.

Mercedes tried to make up a plausible excuse as to why she didn't want to take a picture with Sam but came up empty; besides, Alys would have seen straight through her bullshit.

Sam grinned as Mercedes joined him.

"I'm only doing this for your niece," Mercedes informed him. She stood several inches away from him with her hands clasped behind her back.

Alys looked through the lens and frowned. "Um…Mercedes can you move a little closer to Uncle Sam, please? I can't really see you."

"Uh…okay." She moved an inch, "how about now?"

"No…"

Mercedes gasped as Sam wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him. "Relax darlin', I'm not going to bite," he whispered in her hair as he tried to ignore the butterflies dancing wildly within him.

Sam heard Mercedes swallow audibly as she draped her arms around his slim waist, pressing their bodies even closer. Sam slowly traced her spine with his fingertips, stroking the flames that threaten to consume them.

"P-please don't," Mercedes begged, feeling the heat between her legs increase.

"Why should I?" Sam whispered dipping his head until her breath was caressing his lips. "Can't you handle it?"

Mercedes licked her lips…

"A lot better than you can," she countered, praying Alys will hurry the hell up and take the damn picture before her lips were prompted to do something against her will.

Alys looked through the lens. 'Wow.' She mouthed in surprise. There was definitely loads chemistry between her Uncle Sam and Mercedes! Are they gonna kiss? Alys felt like an intruder taking pictures of a very private moment between lovers. She sent a copy of the photo to her phone. "Uh…Uncle Sam?" she felt kind of weird breaking up a moment between him and Mercedes. "I'm done."

Thank the Lord. Mercedes said relieved, dropping her hands from his waist.

"Shortness, how about snapping another picture of us but in a different position?" Sam suggested. His arms were still firmly wrapped around Mercedes.

"Okay."

"Thanks, Alys." Mercedes was speechless as Sam twirled her around and pressed his chest against her back. He rested his head on her shoulder. "Does this remind you of something?" he smiled, referring to their sexy as hell dance at El Azucar.

"It sure does," Mercedes began. "It reminded me that I caught you and your skank in the ladies bathroom with your dick in her mouth," she snapped, wondering why it bothered her so much.

Sam's smile faltered. "Mercedes…"

"Smile!" Alys sang. They plastered a huge smile on their faces. Alys snapped the picture and glanced at it. "Wow, it came out great." she complimented. "Uncle Sam, you two photograph well together." She sent a copy of the new photo to her phone and handed Sam his cell phone.

Sam smiled softly as he stared at the photo. "Alys is right, we do photograph well together." He handed the phone to Mercedes. She barely glanced at the picture, afraid of what she might see.

"Sam, please forgive me for my snide remark," she said, apologetically. "I'd sounded like a jealous…look like I said before, your private life is just that – private and none of my business."

"Darlin' it's already forgotten," he assured her.

"I realized I was taking my anger out on you because…"

Sam raised his eyebrows, anticipating Mercedes was about to confess that she had a date with her stalker.

"…Your niece is such a cool kid and I don't want to ruin her mini vacation," she concluded, catching herself in time before she spilled about her and Balthazar's date.

"Let's go eat," Sam replied, wondering why she was keeping it a secret.

XXXX

Balthazar strolled to his truck, whistling a happy tune as he pulled his cell phone out his pocket to call Mercedes. He strolled down in his address book until he came to Mercedes' number. A smile spread on his face as he thought about the curvy woman with the big voice and infectious laugh. He pressed the call button and waited eagerly to hear her voice with the cute accent she wasn't aware of.

He opened his mouth to say hello, but was interrupted by the recorded message…

I'm sorry the number you have dialed can not be reached at the present time, please try again later.

"What?" Balthazar hung up and tried the call again thinking he had made a mistake.

I'm sorry the number you have…

Balthazar hung up in midsentence and sighed. "Okay I'll try to call her later." He climbed into his truck and drove home to get ready for his date with Mercedes.

XXXX

Boa Comida was located near the pier and had a great view of the boats in the dock. Once again, Mercedes found the scenery breathtakingly beautiful. The restaurant itself was decorated with Brazilian art work and warm colors. The three of them were greeted warmly by a delightful middle aged woman with a contagious smile. She recognized Sam right away and squealed like a schoolgirl. At one point Sam was afraid that she was going to faint at his feet.

Mercedes and Alys snickered as she ran her hands through his hair and pinched his cheeks as she told him how adorable he looked. After signing autographs and posing for pictures, one which included Sam, Mercedes and Alys as the Evans' family. (Mercedes and Sam denied vehemently that they were a couple, but no one believed them, especially after Sam whispered to a male server he will gauge his eyes out if he stared rudely at Mercedes' breasts again.).

"Sam, may I please use your phone?" Mercedes asked, "I need to call Kurt and put his mind at ease before he has a meltdown."

"No problem," Sam took his phone out his shirt pocket and handed it over to her. "Tell Kurt I'll get you home at a decent hour," he said jokingly as she excused herself from the table.

Alys watched her Uncle as he stared after Mercedes; his green eyes were attached to her glorious backside as it swayed from side to side. "Geez Uncle Sam couldn't you be more obvious?"

"Uh…what?" Sam immediately felt the heat of embarrassment prickle the back of his neck as he realized he had gotten caught by his niece ogling Mercedes' bountiful ass. "Alys…uh…er…"

The twelve year old held up her hand to stop her Uncle before he made a fool of himself. "Relax Uncle Sammy, I don't think you're a perv or anything," Alys' assured him. She took a sip of Guarana before continuing. "It's only natural for you to look at Mercedes like you want to devour her…"

"Alys stop," Sam butted in. "I'm not discussing my love life with a twelve year old."

She shrugged her shoulders and took another sip of her drink. "I like her, Uncle Sam," Alys admitted. "She's not like any of your former girlfriends who pretended to like me because I'm your niece to stay on your good side…"

"Alys, darlin'…" A pang of guilt crept in his heart.

"No need to apologize…" she played with her straw, thinking before continuing. "Uncle Sam, what would you say if I tell you I want Mercedes to hang around for a long time?"

"You really like her?" he asked, remembering a particular portion of a conversation they have had some months earlier.

"Yes I do," she confessed. "And if she wants to date you, it is okay with me."

"I'm so happy that my preteen niece approves," he said, grinning like an idiot.

XXXX

Mercedes sat on the old fashion wooden bench outside the restaurant and punched in Kurt's number. She stared out at the boats on the dock, which reminded her of summer camps and the fishing trips she and Kurt took with their fathers when they were younger.

"Hello? Who is this?" Kurt answered cautiously. "This better not be a telemarketer on my damn line," he hissed.

"Hey bestie it's me," Mercedes laughed. "My phone has died so I'm calling you from Sam's phone," she explained. "I'm giving you a heads up that I'm still alive."

"Thank goodness," Kurt said relieved. "I had been trying to reach you for like an hour now. I wanted to know if you wanted to catch a dinner and a movie tonight since Blaine has to work late."

"That would have been great but I already had plans for this evening…that's why I'm calling you. I need for you to do me a huge favor."

"Okaaaay," he drawled out.

"My date will be there at 8 o'clock to pick me up. Unfortunately I will not be able to make it, I'm stuck in Oxnard with Sam and his niece Alys because of the heavy traffic."

Kurt's cocked his eyebrows. "Why are you out of town with Sam and his niece? And why is this the first time I'm hearing about another man?"

Mercedes rolled her eyes. "I had every intentions of telling you about Balthazar…"

"Balthazar? What the fuck? What does he look like and how come you're not calling him directly?"

"Kurt stop, I get enough grief about Balthy from Sam…"

"You mean Sam knew about this and I didn't? And who in the hell is Balthy? I thought his name is Balthazar."

"Kurt, listen to me. This is so confusing, but I promise you I will tell you everything once I get home. I just need for you to tell Balthazar that I'm stuck out of town due to circumstances beyond my control. I would call him directly, but I don't know his number by heart. Plus there is no way in hell I would call him from Sam's cell phone."

"So what are you, Sam's niece and Sam going to do in Oxnard until the traffic slows down?"

"We're at an amazing Brazilian restaurant getting ready to have supper." She looked around at her surroundings and sighed dreamily. "Kurt, you should see this place, it's near the pier…it reminds me of the good times we had with our dads growing up."

"You're missing Daddy Jones aren't you?"

"Yeah," Mercedes replied. "He would have loved this place, Kurt. You know if I would have stayed in California and pursued my dream instead of going home…"

"You would have regretted spending the little time with him that he had left," Kurt finished for her. "Mama Jones was right about that decision. You needed to be there for him as well as for yourself."

"I know," she sniffed. "Excuse my emotional rant, it just…" She dabbed at the corners of her eyes with her finger tips. "I miss him, Kurt."

"I do too," he said softly. "Now take a deep breath, wipe those beautiful doe eyes of yours." He said, changing the subject. "Go and enjoy yourself with Sam and his niece and I'll be here when you get home."

"And Balthazar?"

"I'll tell him."

"Thank you, Kurt you can't miss him, he's Lenny Kravitz's doppelganger."

"Mmmm, can't wait to meet him. I have to know what his intentions are towards my best friend."

"Come on Kurt, don't put him through your inquisition, I want to see him again."

"Don't worry, I won't torture him…much." he laughed evilly.

"Kurt…"

"See you when you get here." He butted in, "Bye."

XXXX

Sam's eyes lit up as Mercedes returned to the table. He jumped up and held out her chair for her.

"Thank you," she said, handing him back his phone.

"No problem, darlin'. Did you tell Kurt that I'll get you home at a decent hour?" he quipped.

Mercedes rolled her eyes and smiled.

"I hope you don't mind but I went ahead and ordered for you," Sam said.

"And what am I eating?" she asked.

"Moqueca Baiana…seafood stew," he explained. "Was that okay? If not you can always change your order…"

"No, it sounds delicious," she took a sip of water. "And what are you having?"

"Moqueca Bahiana, fish stew with vegetables," he replied.

"What about you Alys?"

"Sea bass and shrimp moqueca."

Their appetizer of bread chips and eggplant tapenade was brought to the table a few minutes later. The male server, who Sam had threatened earlier, nervously placed the platter on the table. "Enjoy," he said, while avoiding staring at Mercedes' chest at all cost. "Your food will be served shortly."

XXXX

Sam scooped another helping of rice in his plate and stole a spoonful of Mercedes' mixed seafood stew to spread over it. He smiled as he observed the interactions between his niece and Mercedes. They were getting along as if they were old friends. When he heard Alys laughing hysterically because of something Mercedes said, he got goosebumps. Sam knew if he closed his eyes he could have sworn he was hearing Stacey.

Sam was so lost in his thoughts; he didn't hear Alys calling his name until she kicked him gently under the table. "Huh, what?" he asked, coming back to reality.

"Are you alright?" she asked, her blue eyes filled with concern. "I had called your name three times."

"I'm sorry Shortness," he replied, smiling apologetically. "I didn't mean to scare you. What do you need?"

"I was wondering if you wanted to share dessert."

"I'd love to," he said, finishing his meal.

XXXX

Balthazar was beginning to get upset. He had tried to call Mercedes several more times just to have the automatic recorded message drone in his ear. This wasn't like her to avoid his calls. He knew that there had to be a good explanation as to why this was happening. She's having issues with her phone you idiot! He said to himself. "Yeah, yeah that's it." he said aloud, chuckling. But if that's the case don't you think that she would have gotten in touch with you some other way? Balthazar cleared the nagging doubts out of his mind. He grabbed the box of chocolates and the small bouquet of flowers he had bought for her and gave himself one last look in the mirror before heading out the door.

Balthazar arrived at Mercedes' residence ten minutes early. He hopped out of his truck and took a deep breath. He had no idea why he was nervous; it wasn't like this was his first date. He wiped his sweaty hands on his jean clad thighs and walked around to the passenger's side and grabbed the box of chocolates and flowers and walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell.

Kurt, who was checking out Balthazar from behind the curtains raised his eyebrows and nodded his head in approval. He had to admit Mercedes' date was pure eye candy. He waited until he heard the doorbell ring for the second time before answering the door. He put a smile on his face and opened the door.

"Hello," he greeted cheerfully. "My name is Kurt Hummel, Mercedes' brother from a different mother and very best friend." He extended his hand for Balthazar to shake.

"Hi," Balthazar greeted. "I'm Balthazar…your sister's date." He shook Kurt's hand. "Is she ready?"

"Um…unfortunately, no," Kurt replied with a slight frown. "In fact she's not here." Balthazar's face fell. "Before you begin thinking that she had ditched you, you are totally wrong," he said quickly. "Mercedes has been caught in traffic and her phone died. She called me to send you her apologies that she wasn't able to make it, she sounded so devastated." He said, adding the extra words for drama.

"What traffic are you talking about?" Balthazar asked. "She left work early today."

"Well, um…she's not in town…" Kurt replied, choosing his words carefully. How was he going to explained that Mercedes is with another man? "Mercedes had no idea about how busy the freeways are at peak hours."

"Oh I see," Balthazar sighed. He had a suspicion Kurt wasn't telling him the whole truth, but he decided to let it slide…for now. "She must have went with a friend because she's doesn't have a car."

"Yeah, you're right she's with a friend," Kurt agreed, nodding.

I bet that friend is Sam fucking Evans! "Okay, well…" he handed Kurt the box of chocolates and flowers. "Please make sure that she gets these and tell her to give me a call when she gets in."

"Yes I will, goodbye… it was nice to meet you."

"Same here."

Kurt watched as Balthazar got into his truck and drove away.

XXXX

Alys rolled her eyes as the guitar players serenaded her while she was in the middle of eating dessert. Sam laughed as he snapped several photos he was planning to send to his parents and brother.

"Uncle Sammy," she said, annoyed. "Will you please stop encouraging them?"

"Awww Shortness, I think it's cute."

"Well I don't." She huffed, shoving a spoonful of flan into her mouth.

Mercedes bit her bottom lip to stifle her laugh, she agreed with Sam. It was cute seeing Alys' cheeks turned a pale shade of pink as the guitarists sang to her.

They finally moved on from Alys and circled Sam and Mercedes, suddenly the tempo of the song changed to slow and sultry. They glanced at each other feeling rather awkward. Mercedes sipped on her glass of water, wishing the musicians would go away and bothered another table. Sam plastered a fake smile on his face as he tried to ignore the urge to grabbed Mercedes by the shoulders and kiss her passionately.

The middle aged woman suddenly appeared at their side and pulled Sam and Mercedes out of their seats and placed Mercedes' small hands into Sam's huge ones.

"Dance," she commanded.

A slow smile crept on Alys' face as she took her cell phone out her back pocket and set it to video...

Mercedes, feeling her heart beating like a jackhammer against her chest, tried to twist her hands free from Sam's, the warm tingling sensation coursing through her body resulted in the fresh flood of moisture between her legs. Sam looked into her dark orbs with a small lopsided grin, shaking his head slowly.

"When are you going to stop fighting me?" he whispered as they stood there, barely moving.

"When you stop being a corroded asshole," she replied with a sassy attitude.

Sam leaned back his head and chuckled. "Then you will be waiting a very long time, darlin'," he quipped. "You love my corroded assholeness." He continued. "It makes you wet."

"Oh, Mr. Evans, conceited much?"

He pulled her close to him and dipped his head until his breath tickled the shell of her ear. "Darlin', don't play with me. I can smell you," he whispered, his voice thick with desire. "And you smell so fucking delicious." He pulled away from her and smiled smugly. "Let me get you home before Kurt files a missing person's report."

Mercedes, shocked by his words, followed him back to their table and gathered her bag.

"Alys, are you ready to go?" Sam asked his niece, pulling out his wallet.

"Yes." She said happily, tucking her phone in her back pocket.

Sam left a generous tip on the table and paid their bill on the way out, thanking the staff for their excellent service.

The hour drive back to Los Angeles was mostly quiet. Alys leaned her head against the backseat, listening to Gladys Knight and the Pips on her iPod as she texted the photos and video of her Uncle Sam and Mercedes to her Uncle Stevie and Grandma and Poppa Evans with the following caption: This is Uncle Sammy's future wife, Mercedes Jones. Please form a prayer circle so he won't muck it up! Love Alys. P.S. he doesn't know it yet! LOL

Sam briefly glanced back at Alys in the rearview mirror. She had her earbuds in her ear, nodding her head in sync with the beat. He glanced at Mercedes; she was pressed against the car door, with her back turned towards him, looking at the serene scene outside the car window. He wondered how many curses she had bestowed upon him and shook his head with a huge grin on his face.

Alys was almost asleep when she felt the car come to a complete stop. She sat up in her seat when she noticed the orange trees in the front of a cute house with two cars parked in the spacious driveway.

"Home sweet home," Sam announced, unbuckling his seat belt. "Alys say goodbye to Mercedes."

"Goodbye, Mercedes," she said sadly. "Thanks for keeping me company."

Mercedes turned and smiled at the preteen. "Goodbye Alys, it was great meeting you too. I hope you will enjoy the rest of your mini vacation with your Uncle Sam."

Not ready for her to go, Alys quickly handed Mercedes her phone. "Can I have your phone number…please?"

"Sure." She punched in her number and saved it. "Please don't hesitate to call me. I'm available whenever you need me."

"Are you sure?" the twelve years old asked, her blue eyes full of hope.

"Yes." Mercedes returned her phone and squeezed her hand gently. "I promise."

Sam opened the car door for her and held out his hand for her to take. Mercedes refused as she got out of the car without his assistance.

"Be right back Shortness," he said, before Mercedes had a chance to walk away from him. Sam placed his hand on her elbow and guided her to the front door.

"You can go now," Mercedes hissed, as she dug in her bag for her keys.

"A southern gentleman doesn't leave a defenseless woman at her front door," he said. "I'll leave when you are safely inside and only after I hear the door lock behind me."

"Fine." She pulled out her keys and Sam snatched them from her. "Are you fucking crazy?" she whispered harshly. "Give me my keys."

"You'll get them back after you answer my question."

"What?"

"How come you never mentioned you had a date with your stalker?"

Mercedes gasped in surprise. "You knew? You sabotaged my date with Balthazar on purpose, by kidnapping me? You corroded ass…" she raised her hand to slap him. Sam caught her by the wrist and looked into her brown doe eyes.

"Oh stop pretending that you're so angry with me," he smirked. "I had been waiting for you to tell me about your little date the entire time we were together, and guess what? You didn't say shit, not a damn word, which tells me that you weren't all that excited to be all up close and personal with him in the first place."

Although what Sam said was true, Mercedes would never admit it.

"I'm trying to figure out why are you so interested in who I date, and the only conclusion I'm coming up with is that you're jealous."

"Of dreadlock dude?" Sam mocked, ignoring the pangs of jealously stabbing at his heart at the thought of her going out with any man. "Yeah right, what does he got that makes me so fucking jealous of him?"

"Me."

"Darlin' please, he hasn't got you," Sam replied; however, the pangs in his heart increased. "Your stalker friend might thinks he's got you because you let him, but we know the truth don't we?" He moved his head inches away from hers, his green eyes focusing on her kissable lips.

"You fucking corroded asshole."

"Ooh and you say it with such passion," he said, knowingly.

Without another word passing between them, Sam dropped her wrist and unlocked the door for her. Mercedes sharply turned, removed her key from the lock and slammed the door in his face, barely missing his nose. Sam leaned in the doorframe until he heard her lock the door and went back to the car.

Alys stared at her Uncle as he started up the engine. "You were gone an awfully long time." she said. "Is everything okay between you and Mercedes?"

"Things are great," he lied. "Why do you ask?"

"I saw her body language and it didn't say happy to me." She grimaced slightly and rubbed her stomach. "I think I ate too much," she said.

"Pepto Bismol coming up," he said.

Alys whined. "Uncle Sammy, I hate that stuff."

XXXX

Kurt jumped as he heard the front door slam. He rushed to the living room and saw his bestie muttering under breath as she paced (more like stomped) around the room.

"How bad do you want me to hurt him?" He said, quickly placing a comforting arm around her shoulders to calm her down.

"He…he…" Mercedes was so angry she couldn't speak! She threw her hands in the air and walked straight to the liquor cabinet and grabbed the bottle of Jack and a glass.

Kurt raised his eyebrows. "That bad, huh?"

Mercedes narrowed her eyes at him, filled up the glass to its capacity and drank it down in one gulp. She poured herself a second glass. "If I never see that arrogant prick again, it'll be too soon!" she replied. "I'm off to bed."

"Uh…don't you want your gifts from Mr. Tall and Sexy?" Kurt asked. Mercedes looked at him confused. "Balthazar…your date?"

"Oh shit," she said face palming herself. "Did he seem angry once you explained to him what had happened?"

"No," Kurt replied. "He understood, but he did wonder what friend you were with since you don't have a car."

"You didn't tell him did you?"

"That you were out on a date with Sam and his niece?" he said, smirking at the WTF expression on her face. "Just kidding." He handed her the box of chocolates and bouquet of flowers.

She felt a twinge of guilt playing on her heart. "I'll go and give him a call and apologize, g'night Kurt."

"G'night, Mercedes."

Mercedes kicked her bedroom door closed with her foot and placed the chocolates and flowers on her vanity and fished her phone out her bag and hooked it up to the charger. After a hot relaxing bath, she laid across her bed and phoned Balthazar.

XXXX

"Hello Lois Lane," he greeted, answering after the fourth ring. "What happened?"

"I'm sorry," Mercedes apologized. "I was stuck out of town and my phone died and when I did get to a phone I called Kurt instead of you because I don't know your number by heart…forgive me?"

"Of course," he replied. "I'm glad you got home safely." He was tempted to ask her about Sam but didn't want to stir the pot. "Did your brother give you the flowers and chocolates?"

"Yes," she smiled. "Thank you…I feel so bad, I hope you don't think that I stood you up on purpose…"

"No, I don't think that." he assured her. "But if you are feeling so bad, how about spending the weekend with me?" he suggested.

"Excuse me?"

"Before you turn me down, let me explain," he chuckled. "I don't mean it that way, I'm talking about me picking you up and we go places, have fun and then I'll take you back home and we do it all over again the next day."

"Oh," Mercedes laughed, relieved. "I like the sound of that, but there's one thing that I must do."

"And what is that?" he asked, hoping it has nothing to do with Sam Evans.

"I have studio time schedule for tomorrow and if we can work around that…"

"I will love to hear you sing." He interjected.

Mercedes smiled. "What time shall I be ready?"

XXXX

"Will I see Mercedes tomorrow?" Alys asked her Uncle Sam as he dropped her luggage on her bed.

"I don't know," he said. "I'm sure she will be busy this weekend."

"Oh," she said, slightly disappointed. "I thought you want her around."

"I do but…" he trailed off. "Shortness, we do have our own lives. You really do like her, don't you?"

"Yeah Uncle Sam I do," Alys made a face as she vigorously rubbed her stomach. "Uncle Sam, I think eating the flan was a huge mistake." She groaned.

"Okay Shortness, I'm getting the pink stuff now." He sprinted to his bathroom and returned with the Pepto Bismol. "Do you need for me administer it to you?"

"No, I'm not a baby." She huffed. "Night Uncle Sam, I'm going to bed." She did a fake yawn .

"Okay, see you in the morning." He kissed her on top of her head. "Sweet dreams."

As soon as her Uncle left the room, Alys pushed her luggage aside and jumped on her bed, with her cell phone in hand. She had received several responses to her text messages and video she had sent to her family earlier.

The first one message was from Uncle Stevie: Not fair, I want to meet her for myself! Sam looks like a goner! LOL poor woman!

Alys giggled and texted him back.

She read her grandfather's message next.

Poppa: She looks like a nice girl, does she fish?

Alys quickly responded: Yes, and she baits her own hook!

Poppa: Tell Sam to get that woman to the church, now!

She cupped her mouth to stifle her laughter. Her Grammy's message was simple.

Grammy: Your Poppa is dancing around the room, prayer circle has been formed.

XXXX

Sam punched in Mercedes' number, hoping she wouldn't ignore the call once his name popped up on Caller ID.

"I'm regretting this call already," she greeted, sighing heavily into the phone.

"Darlin', you know you can't resist the Evans' charm," he replied, smiling.

"What do you want?" She heard his smile through the phone.

"I'm calling on behalf of Alys," he explained. "She really likes you Mercedes and I want to know if there's a snowball chance in hell that she can see you this weekend."

"Tell me why I should believe anything that comes out of that lying mouth of yours." Mercedes hissed.

"Because when it comes to Alys, I don't lie," he countered.

"I'm sorry to have to disappoint your niece, but I already made plans for this weekend."

"Your stalker friend didn't waste anytime did he?" Sam scoffed, trying to push away the feeling of jealousy. "Your time with him is so precious that you can't spear thirty minutes to visit a motherless child?"

"Stop it," she said, standing her ground. "You're not going to guilt me."

"I'm not doing a damn thing darlin', that is your conscience eating away at you."

"And how would you know?" she quipped, try to keep the anger out of her tone. "You don't have one."

"Why in the hell are you torturing yourself?" he asked, "I thought it was established that…" Fuck, make it stop! The pangs of jealously began eating away at his heart.

"Excuse me?" She interjected. "You thought that little trick you pulled will stop me from seeing Balthazar?"

"Mercedes com'on, you know he doesn't do it for you,"

"And you do?"

"Did I have to remind you about…?" he trailed off, reminding her of his conversation at the restaurant.

"I knew I should've ignored your call." She huffed, feeling tingly all over.

"Like you really want to,"

"That's it, I'm hanging up now…bye."

"Mercedes, don't…"

Silence…

Fuck! The thought of his Mercedes dating another man was going to be the death of him, if he doesn't put a stop to it ASAP!

XXXX

Mercedes inhaled the wonder aroma of the orchids as their scent perfumed the air. She placed the vase of gorgeous flowers on her vanity. She read the card that came with them and smiled shyly. Sam Evans can be on Mars and he still had an effect on her.

Sorry, I'm living up to my name – C.A.

She grabbed her bag and cell phone and walked out her bedroom.

Several minutes later, she greeted Balthazar with a warm hug, but it was like hugging a stranger.

"How is my Lois Lane today?" he asked, slipping her hand in his as they left the house.

Mercedes smiled, trying hard to mask her disappointment. "Great, now that we're finally getting to spend time together."

XXXX

Sam waved Puck in and shut the door behind him.

"Fuck man, you look like shit," Puck said, referring the dark circles under Sam's eyes. "Are you coming down with something?"

Sam shook his head. "I'll be alright," he assured Puck. "I just had a rough night."

Alys bounced into the room. "Hey, Uncle Puck." She said, giving him a friendly hug.

"Hey, how's everything in Munchkin Land?" he said, ruffling her hair, knowing how much it irked her.

"Fine." she said, rolling her eyes at him. "Don't you think its time to stop ruffling my hair? It's not cute anymore."

"Never." He laughed evilly.

"Um…yeah," Alys placed her earbuds in her ears. "Laters." She returned to the privacy of her room.

"Wanna beer?" Sam offered as they headed outside to the patio.

"Nah, I'm good," Puck replied. "But you can tell me what in the hell is bugging you, as if I didn't know, already."

"What are you talking about?" Sam asked feigning innocence.

"The curvy African goddess with the nice rack and juicy ass…"

"You really want me to feed you your balls don't you?" Sam replied, cutting him off. He ran his hands over his face. "Shit!"

"So I was right, this is about Mercedes," Puck laughed. "What did she do? Because, dude you look like death warmed over."

"She's living her life," he answered with a shrugged. "She returned my baby." There was no fucking way in hell he was going to tell Puck that he had trouble sleeping because Mercedes was out with another man.

"Shut the fucking front door," Puck said in surprise. "For real?"

Sam nodded. "She handed me the keys yesterday," he confirmed. "It seems she will be carpooling with that weird ass motherfucker whose been sniffing after her," he said bitterly.

Puck stared at him incredulously and began laughing hysterically. "Are you fucking shitting me? You're whining like a pussy because Mercedes returned your baby to you?" He laughed even harder. "Damn bro, she really got your dick tied up in knots."

"Naw man, it ain't anything like that," he lied. "I wanted her to have the car so she didn't have to depend on anyone…"

"Oh I get it! You don't want her to depend on anyone but, you."

"Fuck, I'll buy her a fucking car if it keeps her away from that dick wad."

"You might as well throw in a house with a white picket fence while you're at it."

"Fuck you." Sam said, side eying the hell out of his friend. "I won't go that far."

They heard the door to the patio open and close, Alys hummed to whatever music she was listening to as she reclined on the nearest lounge chair.

"Oh don't mind me," she said. "I'm just going to soak up some sun." She put on her shades and laid back. "Oh yeah," she said a few seconds later. "Did Uncle Sam tell you how much fun we had with Mercedes, yesterday?"

"Why no, he didn't." Puck said, smiling.

"Yeah, Uncle Sam brought her along when he picked me up from school," Alys continued. "We stopped in Oxnard at this cute Brazilian restaurant and had a great time," she added. "He and Mercedes even danced."

"Okay Alys, that's enough…"

Puck snickered.

"I need a fruit smoothie," Sam muttered, changing the subject. The less said about Mercedes the better. "Does anyone want one?"

"I'll have one Uncle Sam." Alys replied.

"Puck?"

"No, but I'll walk in with you."

XXXX

Balthazar sat next to Coinneach, memorized by Mercedes' sultry voice as she recorded the vocals for Unexpected, an original love song she wrote years earlier.

"She's amazing, isn't she?" Coinneach asked the awestruck man.

Balthazar nodded, afraid of missing a note if he uttered a sound.

Mercedes shut her eyes as the hauntingly beautiful music wrapped itself around her soul…

You made yourself a home in my soul

You invaded my heart with this thing called love

You walked into my life; tore my defenses down

You did this all….Unexpected

Unexpected…

Her heart skipped a beat as images of that corroded asshole Sam Evans popped into her mind. No, no, no, this can't be happening! She saw Balthazar jump to his feet, applauding loudly and doing catcalls. She took off the headset and walked out of the recording booth.

"Oh wow, Mercedes I wouldn't believed if I haven't heard it for myself," he said, enveloping her into a surprising hug. "You're going places, Lois Lane."

"He's right," Coinneach agreed. "I see great things in your future."

"Thank you," she said, wiggling out of Balthazar's embrace. "Do you want me to record it again? I thought I sounded too nasal…"

"Mercedes, it was on point." Balthazar butted in to give his opinion. She side-eyed him and glanced at Coinneach.

"He's right, there's no need for a retake," Coinneach assured her.

"Why don't we go some where and celebrate?" Balthazar suggested.

"I was hoping to hang around to hear the finish product," Mercedes replied, hesitantly.

"You two go ahead and get a bite to eat," Coinneach urged her. "I'll call you when I'm done."

"Alright, thank you Coinneach." She gathered her notebook and dropped it in her bag.

"Where do you want to go?" Balthazar asked, grabbing her hand.

Mercedes stiffen before curling her fingers around his. "Do you know a great place that serves Brazilian food?"

"I think I can find a place," he said. "I didn't know you like Brazilian food."

"It's a taste that I had recently developed," she replied, thinking about her supper with Sam and Alys.

XXXX

"Mercedes, huh?" Puck grinned as he hopped on the kitchen counter to watch Sam make fruit smoothies.

"Yeah, she went with me to pick up Alys…well she didn't know she was on her way to Santa Barbara, until it was too late," he sheepishly confessed, shrugging his shoulders.

"Please tell me that you didn't chloroform the woman and drag her unconscious body in the car," Puck said, panicking.

"No, no…she got in the car on her own free will, but she fell asleep. So instead of turning left to take her home I turned right, heading towards Santa Barbara."

"I bet she was pissed," Puck sang, chuckling. "I'm surprise you're still breathing on your own."

"Please, Mercedes should be grateful! I saved her from a boring ass date with dreadlock dude."

"The fuck, you didn't."

"The fuck I did," he bragged and proceeded to tell Puck what happened.

"You're one lucky bastard, you know that?" Puck replied. "Her phone WOULD die when she's with you."

"I know right? It's like the gods were on my side," Sam agreed. He placed the strawberries in the blender with a cup of ice cubes. "Alys really likes Mercedes; you should have seen them together Puck. I haven't heard her laugh so much since forever. She wants Mercedes to be around for a very long time."

"And so does her Uncle Sam," Puck added, swiping a strawberry. "Admit it."

"Nah," Sam lied, adding a banana to the mix. "My plans for Mercedes haven't changed, hit it and quit it and then drop her like a bad habit." He glanced around to make sure Alys wasn't eavesdropping.

"You are such a fucking liar," Puck stated. "Dude you can't bullshit me! I am the king of bullshitters! I know you man, I haven't seen you this fucked up over a woman since Q…"

"Don't you fucking say it," Sam warned him, placing the top on the blender."Don't you fucking say it."

XXXX

Mercedes smiled at Balthazar as he slid into the booth across from her.

"What do you think?" Balthazar watched Mercedes taking in her surroundings. "Is it yay or nay?"

"Yay, I like it." she said, picking up the menu. "It's very cozy." But something was missing or someone…Stop it Mercedes!

"All right," he cheered. "Score one for me."

She opened her menu and in the back of her mind she wondered how long she can keep up the pretense that this relationship was heading some where.

"Maybe after we leave here, I can finally show you where I live," he suggested. "And we can discuss how we're going to spend tomorrow."

Mercedes' eyes widened; she was nowhere near ready to see his place.

"I can show you my Ella Fitzgerald collection and make you forget about Sam…"

Her head shot up. "Huh? What was that?" she asked. Did he mention something about Sam?

"I had offered to show you my Ella Fitzgerald collection," he repeated omitting Sam's name.

"Oh…" She went back to reading the menu without responding to his suggestion.

XXXX

Alys looked down between her legs. Her eyes bugged as the red, wet stain begin to spread. "Ohmigod, Ohmigod, Ohmigod, Ohmigod…" she said repeatedly in near hysterics as she gathered her things and ran into the house, nearly knocking down her Uncle and Puck.

"Alys, what's the matter?" Sam asked, handing Puck the smoothies

"Nothing!" she sobbed, running upstairs. There was no way she was going to announce to her Uncle Sam that she had just started her period. She made it to the safety of her room and locked the door behind her.

It didn't take long for Sam to reach her door.

"Alys," he said, knocking. "Alys, please open the door and talk to me."

"Go away!" she screamed, sobbing. "Please Uncle Sam, just go away!"

"Alys, honey whatever it is, we can work it out together."

Puck came upstairs. 'What's wrong?' He mouthed.

Sam shrugged his shoulders. 'I have no idea.' He mouthed back. "Alys," he said, tapping lightly on her bedroom door. "Alys, please talk to me."

Alys ignored her Uncle's pleads. She took her phone and went into the bathroom, stripped off her clothes, made a makeshift pad out of toilet paper and wrapped herself in a plush towel. She punched in her Grammy's phone number and waited for her to pick up.

"Hello?" her Grammy answered.

"G-Grammy," Alys sniffed. "I-I need my m-mom."

Mary Evans felt her heart squeeze tightly in her chest as her granddaughter began to cry on the other line. "Alys baby, what is wrong?"

"I started my period," she sniffed. "And I can't tell Uncle Sam, because…eww that's gross and I will feel really weird telling him something like that," she said in one breath.

"Where is your Uncle Sam now?"

"He's knocking on my bedroom door like he's the Hulk."

"I see…do you have any sanitary pads?"

"No," she sniffed. "I have half a roll of Charmin between my legs."

"The first thing we need to get you is a box of pads."

"Grammy, I can't ask Uncle Sam to take me to the store for that!" she screeched in horror. "I'll die!"

Mary nodded her head sympathetically. "Okay sweetheart, do you have a way of getting in touch with Sam's woman friend Mercedes Jones?"

"Oh, Grammy you're a genius!" Alys cried, feeling a little better. "Mercedes told me if I ever needed anything just give her a call." She sighed in relief. "Grammy, hold on a second okay, I'm going to do a three way."

"All right." She chuckled before Alys put her on hold. "Dwight!" Mary called out to her husband. "Dwight!"

Dwight sprinted into the room. "What's the matter, honey?" His face etched with concern.

"Call Sam and tell him Alys will be all right and to give her some space," she said.

"Okaaaay," he looked at his wife, puzzled. "Why?"

"Just do it, already! I'll explain everything later! Right now Alys has me on hold, and I'm about to talk to Mercedes in a minute or two."

Dwight's face lit up. "Sammy's Mercedes? The one who loves to fish?"

"The one and the same." She smiled.

"That boy better marry that girl! If not, we're gonna introduce her to Stevie."

"You just want a fishing partner," Mary laughed.

XXXX

Sam leaned against Alys' bedroom door feeling helpless; he had no idea what to do next. He was happy to hear his father's ring tone – just the person he needed to talk to. He needed someone who has been through this experience with a twelve year old girl.

"Dad!" he greeted his father warmly. "You are just the person I need right now."

"Hey Sam," Dwight greeted his eldest son. "Your mother told me to call you and tell you that Alys is going to be all right and to give her some space."

"How did you…?" he paused. "Is Alys talking to mom?"

"Yes and please don't ask me what about because I have a feeling its female related and I really DON'T want to go there."

"All right, I'll give her all the space she needs."

"And Sam, just to give you the heads up, be prepared."

"Huh, what are you talking about? Prepare for what…?" He hated when his father talked in coded messages

"Trust me son, be prepared, like the Boy Scouts." he slowly repeated. "Have a good day now."

"What the fuck?" he asked, after his father disconnected the call. What does he mean, be prepared?

XXXX

Mercedes and Balthazar sat in awkward silence as they waited for their food to arrive. She nearly leaped for joy when she heard her phone buzzed.

"Excuse me," she said, half way out her chair before he could say anything. "It could be important." She glanced at the unfamiliar number before answering the call. "Hello?"

"M-Mercedes this is Alys," she said, sniffling. "D-did you mean it w-when you said I-I can call you any t-time?"

"Of course I did," she replied, "What's wrong? Are you and your Uncle Sam okay?"

"U-uncle Sam is f-fine," she sniffed. "Can you hold on a second p-please I have Grammy on the other line."

"Uh…okay," Her Grammy, what the hell is going on?

"Grammy, I have M-Mercedes on t-the line," Alys announced.

"Hello, Miss Jones? I'm Mary Evans, sorry we are meeting over the phone instead of in person, but I need for you to do me a huge favor, dear."

"Of course Mrs. Evans, what is going on?"

"Alys, why don't you tell her?"

"I had started m-my period," she said in a low voice. "My very first period," she emphasized. "Will you help me?"

"Say no more," Mercedes replied, understanding the situation. "I'll be right over with supplies."

"Thank you Mercedes," Alys sniffed. "S-sorry, if I ruined your day." she began to cry.

"Hey, hey sweetie, don't cry. You have not ruined my day," Mercedes assured her. "So what is your favorite ice cream?"

"Huh?"

Mary laughed. "Alys answer her sweetie."

"Chocolate fudge."

"Got it,"

"And don't forget the double stuffed Oreos cookies and chips," Mary added.

Mercedes added the items to her growing list.

XXXX

Puck noticed the confused look on Sam's face as he entered the den.

"Hey man, did Alys let you in?"

"No, but I got the weirdest call from my dad." he said as he sat down. "Alys is on the phone with my mom. Apparently it's a female thing…I don't know for sure what it's all about, but what is weird is that my dad warned me to be prepared."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It got something to do with Boy Scouts. It's been a while since I remembered anything about that part of my life."

XXXX

Mercedes and Mary talked for another ten minutes before hanging up. Mary thanked Mercedes for being there for Alys and said hopefully they will be able to meet face to face soon. Mercedes assured Mary that there was no reason to thank her for doing something she was willing to do. The older females advised the younger one to take a nice bubble bath and relax; everything is going to be just fine.

Balthazar stood up as Mercedes returned to the table. Their food had just arrived from the kitchen.

"You were gone for quite some time, is everything okay?" he asked, holding out her chair for her.

"Balthazar, I'm sorry but an emergency came up, I-I got to go," she replied, apologetically.

"Sure no problem! We just have our food wrapped up and I'll take you where ever it is you need to go."

"I-I don't know," she said, chewing her bottom lip. "It'll be too much trouble. I'll take a taxi."

"Nonsense, there is no such thing as too much trouble where you're concerned."

Mercedes inhaled and exhaled slowly. "I have to make a trip to the supermarket before being dropped off at Sam Evans' home," she sheepishly explained.

He looked at her in disbelief. "You can't be serious," he said, trying to keep his temper in check.

"It's not job related, but I do have to go."

"Then why in the hell…" he saw the look on her face and stopped in mid rant. "Okay…sorry." He said, "Let's go." He asked their server for several takeout containers. Balthazar was getting fucking tired of Sam Evans messing up his time with Mercedes.

XXXX

Puck and Sam were laughing hysterically as they watched Adventure Time.

Sam groaned when he heard the doorbell.

"Did you order pizza?" he asked Puck, getting up to stretch his legs.

"No," Puck replied. "Maybe Alys…"

The doorbell rang again…

"Be right back."

The doorbell rang for a third time…

"There's no need…" Sam stopped in midsentence, as he opened the door and was surprised to see Mercedes standing on the other side of the threshold with several bags in hand and a sour looking Balthazar standing in the background. "Mercedes…what are you doing here?"

"May I come in? I'm here for Alys," she explained.

"She called you?" He stepped aside to let her in. He glanced at Balthazar with a smirk on his lips and quietly shut the door in his face. "Let me show you to her room," he said, turning his attention to Mercedes

"Thank you," Mercedes replied, following his lead up the marble staircase.

"Do you want me to carry those bags for you?" he offered.

"No thank you, I can manage." They stopped in front a red door with a blue and white bullseye. "Thank you Sam, I can take it from here."

"You want me to leave?"

Yes, I can take it from here," she slowly repeated.

"Okay." He stared into her brown eyes getting momentarily lost in them.

"Sam…"

"Okay, I'm leaving…" A wide smile grew slowly on his face. "Thank you."

"Sam…" she laughed. "Can you please go now?"

"Alright…" He reluctantly turned around and walked downstairs.

XXXX

Mercedes knocked on the door. "Alys it's me honey," she said, "Open up."

Alys quickly opened the door and rushed into Mercedes' arms, holding her for all she was worth. "Thank you for coming," she sobbed. "Thank you, thank you, and thank you."

"Hey, everything is going to be just fine," she assured the young girl.

"Okay," she sniffed, taking a bag from Mercedes and leading her into the room.

Mercedes placed the bags on her bed and rifled through them until she found the box of sanitary napkins and handed it to Alys. "Here you go honey," she said, smiling. "The directions are on the box on how to use them, but if you need any help just give me a call."

"It's okay. I've seen enough films in health class about these things."

XXXX

Puck, concerned when Sam didn't return to the den, went looking for him. He found Sam standing near the stairs, looking up.

"What are you staring at?" he asked.

"Mercedes is here," Sam answered. "She's up in Alys' room. Alys called her," he added. "I didn't know they had exchanged numbers."

"No wonder you're standing here looking like an idiot." He roared with laughter. "Go up and see her."

"I can't," he said. "I'm the wrong sex."

"Oh."

"Yeah," he laughed, running his fingers through his hair. "I think I'll go and wash up," he said. "You don't mind do you?"

"No, I'm about to head out." Puck replied. "Call me later if you need…oh that's right, you have everything you need right here," he said teasingly.

"Just shut the hell up and go." Sam laughed, slapping Puck on the back. "Later bro."

"Later."

Sam opened the door, he had expected to see Balthazar hanging outside, like the fucking stalker he is. However, he was gone, which made Sam's smile ten times brighter.

XXXX

Sam flipped through the channels and sighed in frustration, Mercedes had been there for two hours and she hadn't made an appearance yet. He thought about going up to check on them but he remembered what his father said about Alys needing space. So there he sat in the den, trying to find something interesting to watch to help pass the time.

He decided to give up after changing the channel for the twentieth time and turned off the television. "I can catch up on my drawing," he said aloud, pushing himself off the couch. He looked up the staircase on his way to the art room and shook his head sadly. There was still no sight of them. He clicked on the light switch and glanced around the small study. He couldn't remember the last time he had set foot in the room to draw.

Sam sat at the dusty drawing table and cleaned it off with an old rag he found nearby. He lifted up the top and grimaced as the stale odor attacked his nose. He took out the sketchbook and pencils and laid the items on the table. He blew out a breath of frustration as he thought about what should he draw, and then it came to him. He flipped opened the book and lifted up his pencil.

XXXX

Alys had tears running down her face as Mercedes shared with her the story of her first period. Alys was laughing so hard, she could barely breathe.

"You-you thought you were actually dying?" she howled, fanning herself.

"Yes." Mercedes answered, laughing hard herself. "I made out a will and everything," she confessed. "I thought I was going to bleed out in several days and my parents were going to find my lifeless body in my room or it'll be my luck I'll die at school, during gym class."

Alys shoved another spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. "I'm so glad that you're here." She said. "Since my mom…" her bottom lip trembled. She wiped her eyes and chuckled mirthlessly. "I just wish she was here…" she shrugged her shoulders. "…you know."

Mercedes nodded in complete understanding and handed her a tissue. "I know. I bet she wishes for the same thing, sweetie." She looked at the clock and realized they had been holed up in Alys' room for nearly four hours. "Don't you think you should tell your Uncle Sam what is going on?" she asked. "You don't have to go into details…you can just say…uh I'm a young woman now."

"No, my Uncle Sam is the type of person you have to be straight forward with or he will not get it." Alys hopped off the bed and walked over to the mirror and stared at herself. "I don't look different," she said. "I'm still the same nerdy goddess I was before." She turned and looked at Mercedes. "Okay, I'm ready." She smiled. "I'm calling it now-Uncle Sam is going to freak."

XXXX

Sam freaked.

Mercedes was afraid he was going to stroke out. "Alys can you please go and get a bag for your Uncle to breathe in?" she asked

"Okay." Alys yelled over her shoulder as she ran out the den.

"Sam, take deep breaths," she urged him, in a calming voice. "C'mon, breathe, take a deep breath and slowly exhale." She began breathing with him as she rubbed his back in a circular motion. "C'mon Sam, it's going to be okay."

Sam looked at her as if she was fucking insane…

Alys returned with a bag and handed it to Sam. "Breathe into the bag Uncle Sam."

Sam grabbed the bag and took in a deep breath and continued breathing until he was breathing regularly.

"Are you okay Uncle Sammy?" Alys asked, her blue eyes full of concern. "Do we need to take you to the ER?"

He shook his head. "I'm fine," he assured her. He couldn't believe his Shortness was growing up.

"I told you he'll freak." Alys said to Mercedes. "I'm going to get a wet paper towel for his forehead."

"Yeah you did." Mercedes kept rubbing his back. "Do you need a drink?"

"Hell yes."

Mercedes laughed. "Where is your liquor cabinet?"

"Two doors down."

"Do you want anything special?"

"Whiskey…please."

"Be right back." She returned to the den with a bottle of Dickles' whiskey and a single glass. "Aren't you going to join me?"

"No thank you, I'm good."

"Shit," he said, pouring himself a drink. "My niece is growing up."

"Yep," Mercedes agreed. "You didn't think she'll stay little forever did you?"

"Yeah…no, I was hoping that I had a little more time." He took a drink and ran his hands through his hair. "Fuck, soon she will be going out on dates," he said, taking another sip. "And if those little fuckers are half as bad as I was…God help them because I'm going to put a bullet in their asses." Sam poured himself another glass. So this is what my dad meant!

"You know what? Some little girl's father said the same thing about you," Mercedes smirked. "Karma is a bitch."

"Alys needs guidance…female guidance." Sam sighed, he looked at her. "Any suggestions?"

"I'll be more than happy to fill the role until you find someone permanently." She volunteered, although the thought of someone permanently filling the role didn't sit well with her.

"Thank you," Sam said gratefully. He reached over and slip her hands in his, lacing their fingers together.

"No need to thank me," she said. "Despite my feelings for her uncle, I happen to like her."

"So I see," he said, glancing at their hands, smirking.

Mercedes quickly removed her hand from his and grinned sheepishly. "I think I should be heading home."

"How are you going to get there?"

"Good question."

"My baby is available." He offered.

"I'll just give Balthazar a call…"

"Mercedes, I have feeling your dreadlock friend isn't too happy with you right now," he surmised. "I saw the look on his face and it didn't say 'Hi, I'm a happy camper' to me."

Sam was right; things between her and Balthazar were strained at the moment. "Well…" she nodded. "Okay, I'll use the car, but only for the night."

XXXX

Alys looked at Mercedes with a faint smile, as she gathered her bag.

"Do you really have to go?" she asked.

"Yeah, I'm afraid so," Mercedes answered sadly. "But you know I'm only a phone call away if you need me, right?"

Alys wrapped her arms around Mercedes. "Thank you for being here for me."

"You're welcome sweetie." She kissed the preteen on the top of her head.

XXXX

Sam was waiting for her in the garage with the keys to his baby in his hand.

"Thanks Sam, I'll return it in the morning," she promised.

"What's the rush? My offer still stands you can keep it for as long as you need it."

"Sam…"

"Think about it."

"I already told you, I will be riding to work with Balthazar."

"Why are you trying so hard to make you and what's his name happen?" he asked, feeling the jealousy rising in him. "It will never work and you know it."

"Sam, will you please stay out of my personal life?" Mercedes hissed. "I don't know why you find it so fascinating, and frankly I'm fucking tired of having these conversations with you."

Will you please tell Mercedes that you want her for yourself? And the thought of her with another man sends you in a jealous rage?

Sam remained mute as he held the door for Mercedes as she got behind the wheel. He shut the door and leaned into the car window. He brushed several strands of hair away from her eyes and softly caressed her cheek.

Mercedes turned her head away. "No," she whispered, her skin burning beneath his touch.

Sam pulled back, staring into her eyes. "And that my dear, is the very reason why you and he will never work," he said confidently. "There are no sparks when he touches you, but you already know that don't you?"

Mercedes started the engine, threw the car in reverse and drove away like a bat out of hell. Fuck you Sam Evans! When did you become an expert on my life?

XXXX

The next morning, Alys was surprised to find her Uncle in the kitchen up to his elbows in flour dough. "Um…Uncle Sam what are you doing?" she asked, reaching for the cereal. "And why does the kitchen looks like Martha Stewart's worst nightmare?"

Sam looked up from the recipe book and narrowed his eyes at his niece. "I'm trying to make homemade biscuits," he explained. "I thought it would be nice for us to have one of your Grammy's breakfasts, so put the cereal away."

Alys raised her eyebrows. "But Uncle Sam, you don't cook," she protested.

"Why do you think I have this book?" he countered. "Will you mind helping me out here?"

"Where is the fire extinguisher?" He gave her the side-eye. "What? I was wondering just in case we need it," she replied, rolling her eyes. "What do you want me to do?"

"Start peeling those potatoes for the home fries."

Mercedes drove up in the driveway, took her cell phone out her bag and called Sam to let him know that she was outside. She checked her appearance in the rearview mirror as she waited.

"Hello, Sunshine," he answered in between gasps of air. "What's up?"

"I'm outside," she replied. Mercedes was really curious as to why he was out of breath but decided not to ask.

"Okay, I'm pressing the remote now."

A few seconds later the garage door opened, and Mercedes drove the car into the spacious garage. She was startled by a flour covered Sam opening the door for her before she laughed at how ridiculous he looked.

"What in the hell…"

"Mercedes is that you?" Alys cried out behind Sam. She ran up to Mercedes and gave her a tight hug. "I'm SO glad that you're here." She said. "Uncle Sam is trying to burn the house down."

Mercedes looked at him, still giggling.

"I'm trying to make us an old fashion country breakfast," he explained.

"Oh…"

"Can you help us?" Alys begged. "I really don't want to take a trip to the ER amongst everything else that is happening to my body."

Sam turned up his nose in disgust. "TMI Alys, TMI."

Mercedes and Alys laughed as the younger female grabbed her by the hand and dragged her in the house with Sam not far behind.

Her brown eyes widened when she entered the kitchen and saw the mess. "Wow, this is Martha Stewart's worst nightmare." She gasped in disbelief. Alys turned to Sam with an I-told-you-so expression on her face. "Uh…Sam what are you trying to make?"

"Homemade biscuits."

"Are you sure? It seems that you have most of the flour on the floor…"

"On the counter…" Alys chimed in.

"On you…" Mercedes and Alys began laughing.

"Since when did you two become best buds?" he quipped. "Since you're going to join in the fun, let me run upstairs and get you a pair of my sweats, because your dress is too pretty to mess up."

"How did things go last night?" Mercedes asked Alys once Sam left the room.

Alys nodded. "Things went okay," she replied. "I still feel kind of weird."

"I know the feeling." Mercedes laughed. "Do you have any questions?"

"Yeah, it's kind of personal."

"Ask away."

"Are you in love with my Uncle Sam?"

Alys' question caught her off guard. "Uh…" Mercedes was saved by Sam returning to the room.

"Here ya go," he said, handing her the sweats. "I hope they fit." Mercedes and Alys side eyed the fuck out of him. "No, no, I meant in…the chest and the butt…" He grinned sheepishly, as the tips of his ears turned bright red. "Shut up Sam, stop talking. Quit while you are behind," he said to himself.

Mercedes changed clothes in the small bathroom off the kitchen, placed her hair in a messy bun and returned to the kitchen. Sam's jaw dropped as he laid his green eyes on her. His snug sweats hugged her curves and accentuated her glorious breasts and gorgeous juicy ass.

"Uncle Sam, it's impolite to stare." Alys whispered, jabbing him in the side. "By the way, shut your mouth and wipe your face, you're drooling!"

"What do you want me to do?" she asked, pretending she hadn't heard a word Alys said.

"You can grate the cheese and then chop up the ham and sausage for the eggs, while I start to clean."

"All right," Mercedes felt Sam's eyes on her as she walked to the island to get a knife. She quickly whipped her head around, surprising him. "Do you need something?" she asked.

Sam swallowed audibly. "Well darlin', that's a loaded question." He smirked, biting his bottom lip as he checked her out.

Mercedes felt her cheeks growing warm…

Alys looked at the two adults and shook her head. Why don't they make out already?

"You know what?" Alys said, speaking up. "What we need is some music," she suggested.

"Great idea!" Mercedes nodded in agreement. "So what kind of mood are you in?"

"I feel like dancing."

"Country, punk, rock blues, funk…?"

"You pick."

"Okay, when I was in college I discovered this punkish new wave band named Romeo Void. They had a minor hit titled Never Say Never, but the band never made it big because the lead singer was a curvy female and the record company wanted her to lose weight because of stupid superficial reasons."

"What does a person's appearance has to do with their talent?" Alys commented.

"Exactly," Mercedes agreed. "Well anyway, I was able to find a copy of their song in a vintage record shop and I fell in love with it."

"I want to hear it."

"All right, I have it on my YouTube playlist."

Alys ran upstairs to her room to get her laptop.

"You are really good with her," Sam remarked. "She comes to life around you."

"Thanks, Alys is a lot of fun." Mercedes replied. "Plus, I'm not trying to impress her uncle. Kids can spot a fake a mile away."

Alys returned a few minutes later with her laptop, and Mercedes logged into her YouTube account and selected which playlist she wanted to play. Never Say Never was the first song on her Punk Rock/New Wave playlist.

Sam looked on as Mercedes and Alys danced around to the catchy tune. Sam was really enjoying watching Mercedes bouncing up and down wiggling that magical ass and voluptuous breasts everywhere. He was grateful he was standing behind a counter or everyone would have seen the huge tent he had pitched in his pants.

"I might like you better if we slept together

I might like you better if we slept together

I might like you better if we slept together

There's somethin' in your eyes that say maybe

That's never, never say never…"

Alys and Mercedes sang in unison…

Mercedes sang the next part solo, her voice matching the sassy attitude of the lead singer.

"There's no easy way to lose your sight

On the streets, on the stairs, whose on your flight

Old couple walks by ugly as sin

But he's got her, she got him…"

Alys jumped in to sing the chorus with her…

"I might like you better if we slept together

I might like you better if we slept together

I might like you better if we slept together

I might like you better if we slept together…"

"That's it Alys! Sing it with attitude, girl." Mercedes said.

"I might like you better if we slept together

But there somethin' in your eyes that say maybe

That's never, never say never…"

The next song on the playlist was I Know What Boys Like by The Waitresses

"They talk about me
I got my cat moves
That so upsets them
Zippers and buttons
Fun to frustrate them
They get so angry
Like pouty children
Denied their candy
I laugh right at them…"

Alys giggled as her Uncle Sam turned three shades of red as Mercedes flirted with him while she sang…

"I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like
Boys like, boys like me

Nah nah nah nah nah,
nah nah nah nah nah…"

By the time by Billy Idol's White Wedding started, the kitchen mess was cleaned up, the food was ready and Alys was downloading her playlist. Mercedes took several photos of the food as well for Alys to send to her grandparents and Uncle Stevie as proof of Uncle Sam's new found culinary skills.

Mercedes and Alys, much to Sam's annoyance played a round of rock-paper-scissors to choose who was going to be the sacrificial lamb to try Sam's biscuits.

Mercedes lost…

Sam and Alys watched anxiously as Mercedes split the golden brown biscuit in half and spread butter and strawberry jam on one half and bit into it. She chewed slowly, savoring the taste. Mercedes turned to Sam and gave him two thumbs up.

"Your biscuits are really good," she complimented him as she took another bite. "You should be proud of yourself."

"I can put my phone away now?" Alys asked, as she was ready to call 911if given the word.

"Yeah, your uncle did a great job."

"Of course I did," he said arrogantly. "Was there ever any questions that I wouldn't?"

Mercedes and Alys looked at him. "Um, yeah." They said in unison

After breakfast, Alys volunteered to wash up. She shooed her uncle and Mercedes out the kitchen jokingly informing them they needed their rest. Mercedes followed Sam into the den and claimed the comfortable overstuffed arm chair as hers, while Sam stretched his long frame across the couch.

"Mercedes, I think my niece is in love with you," he admitted, "Last night when you left, she couldn't stop talking about you and this morning…I was feeling a little jealous."

"I'm the new toy," she answered, "So of course she is going to make a big fuss. Soon she will tire of me and you will be back to being her number one."

"I don't think so. According to Alys you are amazeballs: her exact words."

Mercedes giggled. "I think she's pretty amazing too."

"And her uncle?"

She looked at him as smiled. "He's still a corroded asshole."

Sam laughed. "I'm not even offended, because I know you mean it as a term of endearment."

"If it makes you happy."

"It does and you can keep the sweats, it looks better on you than me any day of the week." He reached for the television remote. "Mercedes do you still have plans with dreadlock dude?"

"No." Balthazar hadn't called her and she would be damned if she was going to call him.

"Would you mind spending what's left of the weekend with me and Alys? I have plenty of rooms so there is no possibility of you sneaking into my room and trying to seduce me," he joked. "So what do you say?"

Mercedes was flabbergasted. "Uh…um…sure." She shrugged, hoping she wouldn't live to regret it. "I have to go home and pack a bag."

"All right, I can't wait to see Alys' face when she finds out…"

"When I find out what?"

"Mercedes has decided to stay for the rest of the weekend." Sam announced with a broad smile on his face.

Alys' face lit up. "Really?" she squealed. "Mercedes you're not kidding are you?"

"No, I'm not." She assured the young female. "I have to go home and pack a bag; do you want to tag along?"

"Sure, that's if it's okay with Uncle Sam." she looked at him, her blue eyes pleading with him.

"It's okay." Sam replied.

"Cool!"

Mercedes laughed. "Okay let me change back into my clothes and we'll be on your way."

XXXX

Alys gasped at her Uncle Sam then at Mercedes as she slid behind the steering wheel of her Uncle's baby, his purple 1967 GTO.

"He lets you drive his baby?" she asked incredulously as Mercedes backed out the driveway. "Wow, what have you done to my Uncle?" she asked. "Uncle Sam, never lets anyone drives his car, not even Quinn and he wanted to marry her."

Mercedes looked at her and smiled, feeling special.

"You know, I'm still waiting for an answer to my question," Alys said, smiling slyly. "Are you in love with my Uncle Sam?"

"Well I don't hate him," she said, after thinking how she was going to answer Alys.

"Okay…but do you love him?" she asked again. "I promise what ever you say will stay between us women."

Mercedes giggled softly. She took a deep breath…was she ready to tell Alys how she felt about Sam when she doesn't really know herself?

"Never mind," Alys replied. "If you have to think about it then you don't love him." she said, disappointed.

"Alys…"

"You don't have to placate me, I'm not a child."

"Alys, the relationship between me and your uncle is really complicated," Mercedes explained. "And when I say really complicated, I mean REALLY complicated, but I can tell you one thing if you promise this stays between us."

"Okay."

"I like your uncle more than I let on," she finally confessed.

A smile spread across Alys' face. "I thought so."

XXXX

Blaine kept Alys entertained as Kurt offered to help Mercedes pack.

"You sit down and let me pack your bag," Kurt offered. "Knowing you, you will pack your butt ugly cotton grandma nightgown."

"Kurt, I'm not trying to seduce the man," Mercedes protested, crossing her arms over her chest.

"And why the hell not? It's not like Sam is going to turn you down. I've seen the way he looks at you." Kurt went to her underwear drawer and took out her white sheer babydoll set and stared at his bestie. "What the hell? How do you expect to get any use out of this if you don't take a chance?" He added it to her overnight bag. "How long has it been since you had something inside of you besides tampons?"

"Kurt!" she gasped, feeling the heat of embarrassment immediately climbing up her neck. "I'm not going to dignify that with an answer!"

He waved her words away. "Sorry, but I'm not sorry. You, my best friend, need to live a little. You're allowed to have wild sweaty sex with no strings attached and I can't think of a better person to have wild sexy time with than that hunk of eye candy Sam Evans."

Mercedes added a camisole and boxer pajamas set.

Kurt picked up the pajamas set and nodded approvingly. "All right, that's the spirit."

"Kurt there's a child in the house," Mercedes reminded him.

"She's not going to mind," Kurt chuckled. "In case you haven't noticed, that child had chosen you to be her auntie."

XXXX

Sam aired out the bedroom next to Alys' room and placed fresh linen and blankets on the bed and fresh towels in the adjoining bathroom along with extra rolls of toilet paper and toiletries. To add a personal touch he quickly made a call to his favorite florist and ordered a dozen of long stem purple roses. He felt kind of stupid that he was excited to have Mercedes stay over. To be perfectly honest, he was surprised she accepted his invitation. He knew she did it for Alys but he didn't care; as long as she wasn't spending time with her stalker he didn't give a fuck what Mercedes reasons were.

Sam had no idea what they were going to do for entertainment, (well he knew what he wanted to do if Mercedes was willing), so he took down several board games from the hall closet and carried them into the den. He raffled through his massive collections of DVDs and selected a few movies and set them aside. Twenty minutes later, the dozen long stem purple roses arrived and Sam ran upstairs and placed the vase of roses on the vanity table in Mercedes' room. "Perfect," he said, patting himself on the back.

XXXX

On the way back to Sam's, Mercedes made several side trips, including a trip to a small jewelry store on the pretense of shopping for a birthday present for Tina. In reality, Mercedes was looking for a gift for Alys to celebrate her rite of passage toward adulthood.

She noticed Alys was particularly interested in a ring; it was a 14K Rose Gold Marquise cut, ruby butterfly ring.

"Why don't you try it on?" Mercedes suggested. "See if it fits?"

"I don't know," Alys said, unsure, shrugging her shoulders. "It's really pretty."

The salesperson approached them, and Mercedes asked her to show them the ring. She took the ring from the glass showcase and slipped it on Alys' right index finger.

It was a perfect.

"It looks good on you," the salesperson remarked and Mercedes agreed.

Alys smile faintly, took it off, and handed it back to the salesperson. "Thanks."

"Well I see nothing here that screams Tina." Mercedes sighed, pretending to be disappointed. "We better get going," she said to Alys. "We have one more stop to make." Once they got to the car, Mercedes pretended she wanted to ask the salesperson a question. "It's won't take me but a minute," she assured the preteen.

"Okay." Alys replied, placing her earbuds in her ear.

Mercedes rushed into the store and smiled at the salesperson she had talked to just a few minutes prior. "I like to purchase the butterfly ring please," she said, taking out her credit card. "And can you please put it in a matching box with a bow?"

"Yes, ma'am." The salesperson responded as she rang up the sale.

"Alys are you in a hurry to get back to your uncle's?" Mercedes asked as she merged the car into traffic.

The twelve years old shook her head. "What do you have in mind?" Alys asked.

"Call your Uncle and let him know we will be there in a couple of hours at the least because we're going shopping."

"Okay," she agreed, taking out her cell phone.

XXXX

They had a lot of fun hanging out and bonding. Alys opened up to Mercedes about her mom, something she had never felt comfortable sharing with her uncle's previous girlfriends because she knew that they were only interested in her to score brownie points with him. By the time they had gotten fake tattoos, a manicure and pedicure, Alys and Mercedes ended the occasion by taking silly pictures of themselves with their newly purchased matching sunglasses.

On the drive back, Mercedes noticed how quiet Alys had become. She quickly glanced at the preteen and saw her staring at the snap shots they had taken at the photo booth.

"Alys are you okay?" She asked.

Alys nodded as she kept her eyes glued to the photos.

"Are you sure? Because you can tell me if something is bothering you."

"I know." She looked up at Mercedes and smiled. "I was thinking about my mom and how much she would've liked you."

Mercedes felt the stinging at the back of her eyes. "I think I would've liked her too," she said softly.

Sam raised his eyebrows at the bags in Alys' and Mercedes' hands as they took them out of the trunk. "I hope you left something at the store," he said teasingly. He grabbed Mercedes overnight bag and the remaining shopping bags and closed the trunk.

"Not all of this stuff belongs to me and Mercedes," Alys replied as they entered the house. "Some of it belongs to you too."

"What, I got new stuff too?" he chuckled, looking at Mercedes. "Hand it over."

"Later, Uncle Sam," Mercedes replied, smiling.

To Mercedes great relief, her room was located far away from the master bedroom. The room itself was spacious with a private balcony overlooking the massive backyard.

She heard rapping on the door. "Come in." she said.

Sam opened the door and leaned against the doorframe. "I hope you find this room to your liking," he said. "It hadn't been used in a while." He shrugged his shoulders. "I did put fresh linen on the bed and clean towels in the bathroom…" He trailed off.

The sweet perfume of the dozen purple roses he had ordered saturated the air. "I like it," she said. "Thanks for the flowers."

"You know me, darlin', I will always surround you with flowers."

"I hope you don't mind that I took Alys shopping."

"Are you kidding me?" he chuckled. "I'm no good at that sort of thing and Alys hates everything I pick out for her so I usually hand her the credit card and wait outside the store for her to come out," he admitted. "Which reminds me; I have something for you." He fished his wallet out his back pocket and pulled out a black credit card. "For you."

"Sam!" Mercedes said, shaking her head. "Put that away! I don't need your money…"

"I know that," he said, ignoring her protest. "But I really don't care. This is your credit card. See, it has your name on it. I feel kind of creepy that you are using your money to buy my niece clothes." He explained. "So while you were out shopping, I went to the bank and had this made for you. Whether you use it or not is up to you. It'll make me feel better knowing that you have it."

"But, but, but…" she sputtered. Sam put the card in her hand. Mercedes felt overwhelmed. Why would he do this? "Sam…?"

"Humor me okay?"

"I'm not going to use it," she assured him, biting nervously on her bottom lip.

"I really don't care."

"Mercedes, I saw your door…uh sorry." Alys was very apologetic. If she had interrupted a romantic moment between them, she would kick herself in the butt.

"Hey Shortness," Sam said, moving towards the door. "Mercedes is all yours."

"Mercedes I'm sorry," she said after her uncle was out of earshot. "I interrupted something, didn't I?"

"No," Mercedes laughed, putting away the credit card. "Your uncle and I were talking business."

XXXX

Alys and Mercedes found Sam in the kitchen patting out huge balls of ground beef.

"What are you doing?" Mercedes asked.

"Since my biscuits were a huge hit this morning, I think I'll try cooking up some hamburgers on the grill," he said.

"Uh…Sam, you don't really need to use the whole roll of ground beef." Mercedes explained.

"I know that darlin'," he said. "Why don't you and Alys go watch a movie or play a game and let me make my masterpiece?" he said, pointing a ground beef covered finger toward the kitchen door.

"Someone is sensitive."

"Where's the fire extinguisher?" Alys asked,

"Ah hah, someone has jokes," he quipped, side eying his niece. "You two go and chill out! Bye-bye, I got this."

"You don't have to ask me twice," Mercedes replied, leaving the kitchen with Alys following behind her.

"I have Pepto Bismol upstairs if we need it," Alys assured Mercedes as they got comfortable on the couch, to watch E.T.

"That, along with prayer and a trip to the ER will save us." Mercedes laughed.

They were so engrossed in the movie, Mercedes and Alys didn't notice Sam walking into the den carrying a huge tray until he placed it on the coffee table.

The food smelled wonderful…

"I'm going back for the chips and drinks. Does anyone need anything else?"

"Ketchup?" Alys spoke up, taking a plate from the tray.

"And ruin the taste of my masterpiece?" Sam scoffed. "I don't think so."

Alys looked at Mercedes. "I went first last time." Mercedes remarked.

Sam rolled his eyes, trying hard not to laugh. "You two…just try it."

"On the count of three," Mercedes replied. "One…two…three!"

She and Alys bit into the burger…

"Okay, I was wrong." Mercedes said, apologizing to Sam for the umpteenth time. "How many times do I have to say it before you let it go?"

"I'm not tired of hearing it yet," he said, smirking. "So as you were saying?"

Mercedes grabbed a throw pillow and hit him with it. "I'm sorry, Oh ye corrode a…"

"Watch your language," he chuckled, grabbing the pillow from her and tossing it aside. "So as you were saying?"

"You are so annoying."

"When I'm right I'm right," he sang. "So as you were saying?"

She rolled her eyes. "I was wrong." She huffed, annoyed. "Maybe you want me to sing it next time?"

"Ummm…not a bad idea,"

"Sam…"

"What?" he replied, "You're the one who thought of it."

"I hate you!"

"Sure you do," he grinned. "So as you were saying?"

Alys watched the banter between Mercedes and her Uncle Sam, loving every minute of it. She slipped out of the room unnoticed.

Mercedes' phone buzzed. "Saved by the bell!" She checked her Caller ID, it was Balthazar. "Hey." She pushed herself off the couch, and turned her back towards Sam.

Sam's eyes narrowed as he his temper rose. Her fucking stalker!

"Hey Lois Lane," Balthazar greeted. "Sorry, I'd been MIA without a trace." He chuckled softly. "I was highly pissed about what happened yesterday, I can't believe Sam disrespected me that way."

"What did he do?" she turned to briefly glanced at Sam.

'Hang up the phone,' he mouthed, as he made the gesture with his hand.

She shook her head. "Shut the door in my face with a fucking smirk on his face."

Silence…

"And you didn't call and that pissed me off even more," he confessed. "But I'm over it now and I want to know do you want to spend tomorrow with me?"

Before Mercedes had a chance to answer, she heard Sam scream. She quickly turned around and saw Alys holding a super soaker.

"Who was that?" Balthazar asked.

"Uh…" She was hit by a blast of ice cold water. "Alys!" she gasped.

"Alys?" Balthazar answered. "Are you still at Sam's?"

"Oh you are so dead." She laughed, "Sam, get her!" she yelled, forgetting Balthazar was on the line. She placed her phone on the end table and ran after Alys.

Sam hung back and spied her phone on the end table. He noticed Balthazar was still on the other line.

He picked up the phone…

"Hello?" he asked. "Is any one there?"

"Who is this?" Balthazar asked he already knew it was Sam.

"You're no longer relevant in Mercedes' life, so step the fuck off and leave her the fuck alone."

XXXX

After the super soaker extravaganza, everyone changed into dry clothes and met in the den to watch Avatar, the Director's cut,

Sam was convinced Mercedes was trying to kill him, prancing around in her pajamas short set, and her smelling like cocoa butter was just speeding up the process.

Mercedes sat on the opposite end of the couch. Whoever made smedium tee-shirts was going to have a huge lawsuit on their hands. Fuck, did Sam know how rude he looked? And don't get her started on those short…

Alys sat between them on the couch holding the bowl of popcorn in her lap. An hour into the movie, she fell asleep, using Sam's chest as a pillow. Mercedes and Sam glanced at each other and smiled.

"She really had a full day," Sam whispered. "I'm surprised she lasted this long."

Mercedes nodded in agreement, taking the bowl of popcorn and placing it on the coffee table.

Thirty minutes later, Mercedes joined Alys in the land of slumber.

Sam didn't last much longer after that.

Alys woke up and found Sam and Mercedes sound asleep and the movie credits rolling. She slowly pushed herself off the couch, careful not to disturb them and turned off the movie. She tiptoed out the den, only to return shortly to find them cuddling. She covered the sleeping couple with a blanket and turned off the lights as she softly hummed Billy Idol's White Wedding

tbc...

A/N: So what do you think of Alys?...Thanks for reading!